Innovation & the Future of the Industry: What You Need to Do Now

Over nearly two years, our industry has witnessed the launch of pandemic-prompted innovations that helped businesses power through unprecedented times. As we move forward, the question is no longer about business exceptions but exceptional businesses, driven by innovation. Jonathan Kestenbaum, Managing Director of Technology Strategy & Partners at AMS, moderated a TechServe Alliance Executive Summit panel to sort through what all this means for the future of the industry. The discussion offered expert insights on what needs to be done now from panelists Dan Callaghan, CEO of Veremark, Jason Heilman, SVP of Product/Automation & AI at Bullhorn, and Lauren Jones, Founder & CEO, Leap Consulting Solutions.

The State of Innovation Today

Opening remarks focused on big picture trends to watch for ¯ consolidation, blockchain and AI ¯ but quickly shifted to the kind of operational specifics that IT and engineering staffing and solutions business leaders deal with daily. All three panelists are fans of any cool technology that enhances the candidate experience.

Give Candidates More Control Over the Process

Lauren loves on-demand tools that enable users to feel in control (after ceding all control to COVID!). She recommends greater transparency to let candidates see where they are and where they’re going. Candidates typically register with 4 to 6 agencies. Use a tech and touch approach to create stickiness and a great experience.

Create Great Candidate Experiences

Jason gets excited when tech creates great candidate experiences, especially ones that build brand equity. Echoing what Lauren said, when candidates look at multiple agencies, you want them to remember yours. A few quick tips on how you can use automation to differentiate your business:

  • Offer a smooth self-service experience that puts the candidate in control.
  • Bring in the recruiter to enhance the candidate experience.
  • Increase transparency with real-time updates for candidates.
  • Be more responsive by providing feedback to candidates.
  • Be mobile first.

Partner with Robots to Accelerate the Process

Dan recommends robots as a huge efficiency booster. When a critical unanswered question can put the brakes on forward momentum, robots offer a level of sophistication that cannot be replicated in terms of their ability to retrieve missing information and accelerate process steps. And candidates love it when you speed things up.

Where Will Innovation Take Our Industry?

According to our experts, in two years, the staffing world will view AI as commonplace. It will routinely handle time-consuming, highly repetitive functions, freeing up recruiters to focus on relationships and the soft skills that a computer cannot replicate. Transparency and self-service will each be a given, both for candidates and clients. The job search/job fill experience will be faster and easier, giving greater control to candidates and even clients, who will be able to access your database to directly search for talent.

Balance Technology and Touch for the Best Results. Expect a healthy balance between tech and touch. The guideline will be to automate when it makes sense to improve the experience and drive greater productivity, while putting people on revenue generation.

Master Digital Marketing to Reach Your Stakeholders. Ours is a consumer world, and it requires mastery of one-to-many communications. We need to clearly and concisely present our value proposition to ensure our target audience knows exactly what we want them to do and why they should do it with us, rather than a competitor. That is never a one-and-done exercise. It requires repetition and relationship building.

Proactively Manage Change. The biggest barrier to technology adoption is people. Anyone inside or outside the agency who will be impacted by a change in technology needs to be informed about what the technology will do and convinced that it will have a positive impact. Training and communication are key elements that can help you manage expectations. Both should be considered in your initial project planning and be part of your pre- and post-go live process.

Innovative Technologies Are Disruptive

Innovative technologies disrupt business models, but they also move industries forward. Professional staffing is no exception. The introduction of innovations in AI and machine learning, robotic process automation, conversational bots, big data analytics, SMS text outreach and virtual onboarding can all be leveraged to transform the way we do business. There is no single technology that offers all the answers. In fact, there are many different innovations we can use to solve our industry challenges. Some will help you attract the best talent through outstanding experiences; others will help your recruiters make better matches; still others will boost productivity and your bottom line. Which ones are right for your business? Where should you invest now for maximum return? You could digitize everything on your platform, ideally front to back office, or start automating one or a few processes (such as background checks or candidate search) to drive efficiency. To ensure ROI is optimized, start with clear goals in mind. To minimize uncertainty, set up a pilot project to help demonstrate what the technology can deliver. Keep in mind that one size never fits all. Don’t get taken in by what’s shiniest. The ideal solution will be different for everyone. Look at your business drivers, where your current gaps are and what’s important to your organization. Then look at what makes the most sense for you. To make the most meaningful impact, you’ll discover lots of competition for your attention, but what’s most important is to get started disrupting NOW!